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Malibu Lagoon, April 27, 2014

April 30, 2014

We had great weather, just beating the recent heat wave by one day. The water level at the lagoon was the highest we have seen since the renovation; it may have reduced the number of birds because there was no mud exposed and only a couple of small islands to perch on safely. On the other hand, we saw many Killdeer chicks close to the pathways, and that is not at all expected. One of our group saw a dozen chicks before they were called off a pathway by their parents.


Killdeer chick; photo by Adrian Douglas

There were several reports of large fish jumping and we had one Osprey fly over; no reports yet of a nest so we assume this was merely a visitor.  Another unusual set of visitors were some Vaux’s Swifts flying low, mixed in with the Barn, Cliff, Rough-winged and Violet-green swallows. It was a good opportunity to observe the different flight characteristics of swallows and swifts.

For whatever reason, we saw virtually no warblers – only two of the resident Common Yellowthroats. Migration and breeding season did give us a good look at Spotted Sandpipers with real spots on them, not in their plain winter plumage.


Spotted Sandpiper; photo by Adrian Douglas
The Elegant Terns were all clustered together on one of the small islands and the Urge to Merge ran rampant among them. And yes, there was one Royal Tern among them, standing out with its larger size, bald forehead and slightly stronger bill. We also had six of the Big Boys, Caspian Terns.

CaspianTernsMalibuLagoon4 27 14_Laurel

Caspian Terns; photo by Laurel Jones

Maybe it was the high water (few waders) or the change in the weather (lots of good birds found the same weekend at Butterbredt on their way north for the summer) the lagoon lacked variety for a May trip. We still saw a lot: results below.

WhimbrelMalibu4 27 14_Laurel

Whimbrel; photo by Laurel Jones


Pied-billed Grebe 1
Double-crested Cormorant 24
Brown Pelican 105
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Snowy Egret 12
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
Osprey 1
American Coot 20
Marbled Godwit 25
Whimbrel 7
Spotted Sandpiper 3
Western Sandpiper 5
Least Sandpiper 1
Killdeer 22
Heermann’s Gull 27
California Gull 3
Western Gull 27
Caspian Tern 6
Royal Tern 1
Elegant Tern 63
Rock Pigeon 5
Allen’s Hummingbird 3
Black Phoebe 5
Western Scrub-Jay 1
American Crow 8
Northern Mockingbird 4
European Starling 6
Bushtit 6
Violet-green Swallow 6
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 4
Barn Swallow 20
Cliff Swallow 5
House Finch 6
Common Yellowthroat 2
Song Sparrow 12
California Towhee 4
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
One Comment
  1. Mary Prismon permalink
    May 13, 2014 2:30 pm

    Great post, Chuck! Date: Tue, 13 May 2014 14:21:57 +0000 To:


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